Chapter 2 Michael's World

Tardiness could cost the young rookie his promotion from animal control to the police force, but he didn’t want to be promoted, anyway. He dallied from the police station through the parking lot until he eyed the car in space # 341, the one he’d been assigned. Now he understood part of his duty for the day. He’d been ordered to drive the grumpy sergeant because the old guy probably didn’t have a clue how to handle the algae-fueled automobile. The sergeant had come from the building from the other direction, and both officers climbed in the car and slammed their doors, angry they had been assigned to go fetch a live pig.
A whir sounded. After watching the oxygen indicator climb to a safe level, they pulled plugs from their noses. The plugs and tubes were never reusable—nasty from one use. Shoving tubing in disinfecting bins in the dash with one hand, they pushed their breathing tanks into the same compartment for a refill with another hand. Click. Sshhh. Click. Sshhh. All this trouble to breathe outside in the year 2030.
“Man, oh, man. I got razzed this morning by the other officers about this assignment. You get any coffee cake?” the young officer, Polease, asked from the driver’s seat.
Coffee sloshed out of the top of the senior officer’s cup as he slid it in the holder. From the passenger seat, he answered with his hoarse morning voice. “Cake?”
“Someone baked one—pink and pig-shaped. When I came into the break room, they sang to the tune of Happy Birthday, only they changed the words to ‘Happy pig day to you.’ Above the cake, the guys had hung a banner that read: Talking Pig with Cloned Human Brain Hogs Court Time. Like a Happy Birthday banner, get it? Good cake, though.”
“You ate some? Should have shoved it in the server’s face. Did ‘ya get the cook’s name?”
 “Yeah, I mean, no, Sarge,” Polease said. “Sarge, right, speaking of names—”
“Everyone knows me by my screen name, Theocop, and it’s all you need to know. From now on, if you’re talking to me in person, we got a problem. Otherwise, I’ll send orders on lexmail, so you check your messages on your gadio.” Sarge’s raspy voice almost echoed in the car. Observant and hard, he’d been likened to a 50 year-old James Bond because he always wore a gray suit, but he lacked a Bond hair style. Sarge actually owned a pair of clippers and kept his crew cut short. Daily.
In the squad car, Polease toyed with the devices. So far he’d found the lane sensor icon, the anti-crash mode, and the cruise control. “Hey, fine, use my new screen name, ‘Polease,’ if you like, or use my badge number—020. The guys razz me, calling me, you know, ‘zero to zero’”
 Theocop pulled at his seat belt to accommodate his build, whistled like a falling missile at the prospect of calling someone “zero to zero,” and settled back into his seat. They all tried to make something of badge numbers. It was one of the junior officers’ weird games.
The seat belt held tight on Polease’s young, thin build. To see to drive, he whisked his dark brown, kinky, scissor-cut hair away from his small, blue eyes. He yanked on his pants leg to adjust his navy blue, one-piece jump suit, and he wiggled his trapped shoulder free of the belt’s auto-grip. He lowered the seat to accommodate his height. Picking up the wireless steering wheel, he scrolled through the drive menu on the car’s monitor.
Theocop stretched, feigning patience. “You gonna drive or fidget—whatever your name is—nil, naught, zero, Polease?” Theocop almost smiled. Almost.
“Drive, yes, in a minute. Hey funny, they make biogas partly from pig manure, so our pig-manure powered car picks up the pig. If we run out of petro, we can plug in the pig.”
“Too early for ying-yang, boy. Way too early,” Theocop said.
Polease eased the car out of the parking space. There were no cars on the road. Only drivers with official permission could add CO2 and NO2 to the air. Polease set the sensors to DETECT. The dummy light in the dash read: LANE GUIDES DETECTED— 1055 linked for 10.2 miles. The monitor flashed AUTOPILOT ON FOR 10.1 miles.
Theocop had heard from the cadets about how irritating this new guy could be. Irritating habits included talking too much and touching everything whether it belonged to him or not. So far, he fiddled with everything in the new cruiser and figured out how to drive it—more than Theocop understood after a couple of hours with the car manual last night. Now, Sarge hoped to keep the newbie from talking too much. 
 “Hey, wheeeeelable wheels,” Polease exclaimed. He had been warned while eating the pig-cake it would be unwise to talk to Sarge too much, especially in the morning.
Theocop inhaled, dreading the conversation. When he talked, the muscles in his face became visible. When alerted or annoyed, his meaty earlobes twitched, earning him his nick-name, the one used only behind his back, Dumbo. “Drive and listen. I’m going to iron this out for you like your great-grandma used to steam-iron aprons. First, understand; this pig is valuable. It’s got quite a noodle. Doctors call it the first viable human, cloned brain. Chetley Takes, the pharmaceutical guru, claims the brain belongs to him. Takes had his brain cloned and his gray matter grew in the pig’s head, get it?”
“Guess the pig has an argument. The brain is in his head, right,” Polease said.
“Boy, you can think anything you want, and you can say it, too, to certain people. If you plan to move up from animal control to the police force, you better not let anyone important hear you say the pig has rights.”
“Hey. Just saying—”
 The hot coffee had taken some of the harshness from Theocop’s voice. “Learn to listen, will ‘ya? Unfortunately for us, since the blessed pig can talk, piggy decided along with a few animal activist friends, and one of those free lawyers, to sue in order to keep the brain.”
If Polease could keep his superior talking, he could boast he had an actual conversation with him. “Hey, I get the controversy, and I’ve read all about why they clone pigs to keep the cloned organs until one of those rich guys needs a new part, but nobody’s done a brain transplant before.”
Theocop had done his homework for this case; yesterday, he watched the documentary prepared for Take’s organ harvesting team. “This assignment needs kid gloves, kid. The same brain cancer that runs in Takes family has turned him into a couch commander, and he knows the risks in attempting the first brain transfer. He’s just dusty about dying. Hence, our orders. Move the swine without stressing it out. Official wording: The pig is not to suffer any trepidation.”
“Okay, but why aren’t we taking an animal control vehicle?”
Theocop started to pick up his coffee, but smacked it back into the cup holder. “Aren’t you listening? You have to interpret orders. Caging the pig for the ride might cause trepidation.”
“Any other interpretations?”
 “Choosing you. You have experience with pigs and video games. Figured you could drive this new contraption to the farm and get the pig back.”
Reasons. Theocop had real reasons for choosing Polease and using screen names, and the real reasons were unrelated to pigs and cars. He knew the kid’s animal control experience was limited to zapping the fierce city squirrels with RemoteLaserBots. But years ago, Theocop made a promise to a dying partner to watch over the boy. Theocop had sent a lexmail once in a while to his partner’s widow, so he feared the youngster knew his name. She may have mentioned, “Daddy’s sergeant, Theodore, sent a lex and asked about you, too.”
In moments of guilt, using a different screen name each time, Theocop played on-line games with the kid. The kid beat him every time. Theocop often thought it was too bad he hadn’t been asked to take care of a dog or a fish. Actually, if it had to be a mammal, he would have preferred a gerbil. Gerbils don’t live very long, and they can’t win at video games.
Everybody had reasons. The public cared about this case. Most people lived in oxygen-conditioned apartments without permission to move around outside. Little sympathy existed for the wealthy people who moved about with oxygen tanks and cars. With the resources from his company, Takes had stretched luxurious living over 125 years, making him the oldest, richest man alive.
Theocop pressed an icon on the mega-screen for the MediaMonkey’s latest results. The MediaMonkey question posed: Who should live, pig or Takes? 85% responded—PIG.
At the top of the Webpage, a hacker had added a banner that read: Eat the rich. Eat their pigs. Theocop hit the “report” button. After a minute or two, a message appeared on the screen: Thanks, citizen. We’ll add 5 equalizer points to this Friday’s pay~ The Language Cleansers
Polease didn’t want to see statistics. Boring. “Can’t you click on a program or something?”
“Yeah. Give it a minute.” For his own personal reasons, Theocop wanted to watch the documentary featuring his girlfriend, Katharine Moore, head of the Cloning Institute, supporting Chetley Takes’ side of the issue. He loved to watch her snowball the public. Knowing she lied and knowing the truth made him feel powerful. Truth is power, even when you hide it, and maybe it’s even more powerful when you do.


Tyler Harvey said...

The kid should have police work running through his veins. He’s just young, I hope.”

haha that part was funny chapter 3 was pretty good i hope chapter 4 gets better ohh i cant wait :D

Tyler Mitchel Harvey

nathan cain said...

this was a good chapter. im used to Dean Koontz books but this was a good change. i like the twist on the year 2030 and also apreciated the hidden humor about how the world is going to crap and everyone has to have a special device to breath. its also interesting to hear about "animal rights" and a human brain in an animal

cody armstrong said...

hi, cody armstrong here! you're clever. i enjoy the subtleties of your writing, you don't spell out what's going on ten times then just change ideas; you leave some room for the reader to think for him/herself. everything has a really nice flow and the transition is buttery. i could see why some people though the interview dragged out, but there is good reason for it, if it hadn't been brought up i wouldn't have thought anything of it. excellent writing, i hope you go somewhere with it one day, you totally have the potential! and i enjoyed your short story too:)

Marissa said...

I think this is excellent job. It all makes me want to keep reading. You had awesome word choice also. All the sentences had a good flow to them. Keep up the work, and ill keep reading!

Marissa Slay

Adam Crilow said...

Wow! just read chapter 1. really good. Like the fact that the year is 2030. Really good choice of words and the whole thing flowed together nicley. I never found anything i enjoyed reading until now. Great job!

Cindy Evans said...

I enjoyed the 'futuristic' feel of this chapter.

I was a little confused at first because I did not know why anyone would want to do a brain transplant on a pig!

I really enjoyed the interesting dialogue between the characters.
I can't wait to read more!

Cindy Evans
SA English IIIA

Kristen Fitzgerald said...

I enjoyed the personal relationship established between the characters and the reader; and the dialogue, actions, and thoughts of the characters granted me insight to their personalities. The idea of using pigs as surrogates for organs makes me infer that, in this time, humans have become so egotistic and pious that animals are deemed useless except for personal gain. This ties in with the complete lack of benign intent toward the under-privelaged counterparts of the wealthy. Overall, I believe you did well with establishing the characters, fluidity and relevance in your plot, and also with the cliffhanger at the conclusion of chapter 1; leaving the reader to inquire as to how Polease could help Theocop on his benevolent endeavor.

KyleG said...

Just read chapter one. I enjoy this, this seems to go in my alley. I like how you were pretty creative with making up names because that adds to the element of futuristic. It seems that when you use stuff like lex or so, that is just a futuristic word choice. I will definitely read more of this. Good Job!

Carl Zamor said...

Hey, this is carl zamor. I find that the first chapter opens up with some comedic references to keep the reader posted and interested and it also makes it easier for them to understand what's happening in the story. Very good work ;)

Pietro Cartaino said...

I really only looked this up for the extra credit, but when I started to read it, I really started liking it. Kinda reminds me of 1984 by George Orwell for some strange reason. lol

I really liked this; stuff like this has always interested me. I also really liked the way you described the future; we're not too far away from that type of living....
That pig should definitely keep his brain; animals have rights just like the rest of us. I also found the way you described the cars to be pretty interesting.

I'm going to read the next few chapters; but I don't want to read anymore until the book comes out. Keep me posted; you have one definite buyer. :)

My name is Pietro Cartaino, and I am in your SA English IV class this quarter.

Pietro Cartaino said...

I wasn't bored or cunfused at all. I did find the talking pig idea to be a little surreal, but I got used to it as I went along. I would love for you to go a little more into detail about the future; I've always been facinated with what other people think the future holds. But as much as you did tell, I wanted to know more. Maybe try going a little further into how people live their lives now.

Pietro Cartaino

Patty D. said...

I love, love, love the first four chapters of the novel. The futuristic quality to the setting really draws me into the story. Your descriptions really give me a visual for each character. This is a very important aspect of a novel for me because it helps to hook my interest. I like that you are discussing a "real" topic and how it can affect our future.